Pretoria attractions include stately buildings, monuments, and museums tracing South Africas transition from Union, to Republic, and now democracy, but also gardens, parks, and places of leisure.
The Union Buildings, a popular Pretoria attraction . Top of the list of Pretoria attractions is the Union Buildings. The crescent shaped sandstone complex, designed by Sir Herbert Baker, is the administrative headquarters of Government. Best remembered as the site of former President Nelson Mandelas inauguration, here you can also visit the Deville Wood and the Pretoria War Memorial.
The citys zoological gardens are a favorite Pretoria attraction. Founded in 1899, and set in 600ha of parkland, its a popular local picnic spot with an impressive collection of southern African and other exotic wildlife. The Voortrekker Monument, the University of South Africa, and the City Hall, are architectural attractions that give Pretoria its character. One of the citys newest monuments is Freedom Park. Built to commemorate South Africas political and cultural heritage, it has one of the best views of Pretoria.
Popular Pretoria activities include a cultural walk around Church Square, and along Church Street, to view numerous statues and historic buildings, including Kruger House. Visiting museums is another favorite Pretoria activity. There are museums dedicated to natural history, culture, and science and technology. The Pretoria Art Museum and UNISAs exceptional art collections will please art lovers.
Pretoria attractions include many gardens, parks, and nature reserves within, and surrounding, the city. The Fountains Valley, Groenkloof Nature Reseve, the Pretoria National Botanical Gardens, and the Rietvlei and Wonderboom Nature Reserves are among Pretorias best natural attractions. Pretoria climate makes it ideal for visitors that favour outdoor pursuits and nightlife. A rugby or football match at Loftus Versfeld stadium, Pretorias premier sporting venue, is worth attending for the atmosphere alone.
Pretoria entertainments include Roodeplaat Dam, and the Bronkhorstspruit Dam, east of Pretoria, for water sports and fishing; Wonderboom Airbase for skydiving, the Moreleta Spruit nature tail, and the quaint mining town of Cullinan. At night, Pretoria entertainments include excellent fine dining restaurants courtesy of its diplomatic community, and ballets, operas, and musicals play to packed houses at the State Theatre.
Night owls can stay out late in the suburbs of Arcadia, Sunnyside, and Hatfield where there are countless clubs, pubs, and bars to enjoy. Menlyn Shopping Centre is another favorite sport for Pretoria entertainments, with indoor adventure sports and a drive-in movie theatre.
How to get here
From Johannesburg, take the M1 North towards Pretoria, then take various off ramps, depending on which part of Pretoria you want to visit. The city streets are well signposted, as are all the major attractions. By mid-2011, the Gautrain rapid rail link between Johannesburg and Pretoria should be operational.
Best time to visit
Pretoria is a year round destination. Its particularly lovely in September and October when the Jacaranda trees bloom.
Where to stay
Accommodation caters for all tastes and budgets from 5-star hotels and luxurious guesthouses, to B&Bs, lodges and backpackers.
Around the area
The Nan Hua Buddhist Temple complex outside Bronkhorstspruit, the Magaliesburg and Hartbeesport Dam area to the west, and the town of Cullinan, east of Pretoria, in Dinokeng, are all worth visiting.
Tours to do
Various guided and self-guided tours are available. Contact the local tourism office, or speak to your tour operator.
Did You Know
Pretoria's main road, Church Street, is the longest urban street in South Africa.